INDIANAPOLIS -- Two Meijer stores here have rolled out prototypes of Healthy Living sets, expanded offerings of health and wellness items in grocery and other departments, according to several sources from the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based chain. They are being done on a store-by-store basis.
The test will take six months or so, and if it succeeds, it will be rolled out to the entire chain of 156 stores.
Nicola MacGuire, who came to Meijer from Tesco, is the Healthy Living project manager. "We are trialing," she told SN. "We have put in 44 four-foot sets of natural and organic product.
"We went very heavily into consumer education and awareness, expanded the lactose-free and signed it as such, with individual icons explaining the health benefits, and the customers can take away brochures."
The concept is to centralize the better-for-you items, at good prices, and offer nutritional information, said John Zimmerman, director of public and consumer affairs for Meijer. "We are asking people to come to Meijer, as opposed to going to a health-food store," he said.
He said the chain had worked on the concept for about a year, but that it fits into Meijer's intent to make its stores easier to shop. Toward that aim, Meijer recently hired New York architectural firm Rockwell Group to redesign stores, which average 200,000 square feet.
Healthy Living includes 24 categories of grocery products, from baby food to wine, pizza and snacks. Both stores have sizeable sections of health and beauty care and diet and sports nutrition products also signed as Healthy Living.
"We are taking surveys from guests and watching the sales for all those items, and comparing that with past history," Zimmerman said. "It's a work in progress, but we are getting great feedback."